Bob Hall took his seat on the bench to take a breather.
Down six runs to the Manteca firefighters, Hall and his Del Webb Silver Sluggers weren’t about to give up without a fight.
Even though he had never picked up a softball bat in his life prior to moving to the senior community three years ago, Hall – who said he’s trying as many sports as he can to stay active – didn’t waste any time in picking up his glove and hitting the field when the inning switched.
“This is really my first go at it, but it’s a lot of fun,” Hall said. “We love having the police and firefighters out here playing with us. I run the Neighborhood Watch here, so I get to work with them when they come in for emergencies.
“This is a different chance to have a good time with them.”
The doubleheader, which showcased the Silver Sluggers in the first game and the Wolverines – Del Webb’s competition softball squad – in the second, drew a sizable crowd of residents that came out to support their friends and neighbors.
In the eyes of announcer Reno Cortesi, games like the ones played on Friday morning were a chance to build camaraderie with the local firefighters and have a good time out on the diamond together.
“It’s fantastic to see something like this come together,” he said. “We’ve had the police out here playing and we have intra-squad games where these teams play each other.
“But events like this are a little bit different because you get to see the firefighters out of uniform and having fun.”
And it was all about having a good time.
Manteca Fire Department Captain Franco Torrice drew a round of applause and more than a few laughs when he called timeout and walked out to the pitchers circle to talk to Firefighter/Engineer Steve Burrows.
Burrows played along with the gag by putting his gloved hand on his hip and throwing the ball onto the ground – adding to the comic relief of the situation and proving that the morning’s events were all about fun.
The games themselves were just the byproduct of a conversation between Woodbridge Senior Softball Club President Rudy Salvador and Torrice that took place when the firefighters were out responding to a call.
According to Salvador, both Woodbridge teams and the firefighters had only one focus when it came to bringing the day to fruition – making sure that nobody gets hurt.
“We’re all out here to have a good time and I think you can see that the guys are doing just that,” said Salvador – who had to catch for the firefighters in the first game because they didn’t have enough players. “This game has always been a passion of mine and I’ll keep playing it as long as I’m able.
“I think that you see that with a lot of the guys out here. We’re just out here to have fun and live out the rest of our lives.”